10 tips for a better sleep with type 2 diabetes

Wednesday, 1 July 2020

Even if you know the importance of getting enough sleep each night, what happens when your desire to fall asleep isn’t enough?

For people living with type 2 diabetes, falling and staying asleep may be a challenge. Sleep difficulties have long been linked to type 2 diabetes and the issue often worsens as people age.

Tips to help you sleep better

Lifestyle practices that promote good sleep are known as “sleep hygiene.” Many of the most effective sleep hygiene techniques are things that you can do on your own at home.

Here are 10 tips you can try to help improve the quality and quantity of your sleep.

  1. Focus on controlling your blood sugar

Managing your blood glucose effectively may help improve your nightly rest. Lower glycemic foods can help avoid fluctuations of high and low blood glucose that can contribute to poor sleep.

For example, you might choose a high-protein snack like nuts over a sugary treat.

  1. Avoid caffeinated beverages at night

Black tea, coffee, caffeinated soft drinks, and even chocolate can interfere with your ability to fall asleep. For a better night’s sleep, limit the amount of caffeine you consume throughout the day with a goal of eliminating it several hours before bed.

  1. Participate in regular physical activity

Exercising most days of the week can help improve the quality of your sleep. Physical activity contributes to better blood glucose management.

Plus, regular exercise can improve mood, which helps to lower stress and leads to better sleep. Aim to get at least 30 minutes of exercise five days per week.

  1. Aim for a healthy weight

If you’re overweight, work with your doctor to set goals for weight loss and management. Losing weight can lead to better blood glucose control, and decrease the risk of depression and sleep apnoea.

  1. Power up your protein

Focus on high-quality sources of protein like chicken, eggs, and seafood. Eating protein throughout the day can help you manage your blood glucose levels more effectively.

  1. Ditch the distractions

The bedroom should be for sleeping only. Television, smartphones, tablets, and even clock radios that are too bright can interfere with your ability to fall and stay asleep. If you need to have your cell phone by your bed, change the settings to only receive messages that are an emergency.

  1. Stick to consistent sleep times

Going to bed and waking up at the same time each night helps regulate your body’s own internal clock. Even on the weekends, aim to be consistent.

  1. Create a bedtime ritual that includes relaxing activities

Winding down and relaxing one to two hours before bed can help your body get ready for sleep. Consider a gentle yoga routine, breathing exercises, reading, or a warm bath.

  1. Limit or avoid daytime napping

Naps can do wonders to help you get through the day. But if that 20-minute catnap is interfering with night time sleep, you might want to give it up for a while.

  1. Create a sleep environment

The environment in your bedroom makes a significant difference when it comes to quality sleep. Make sure you have a supportive pillow and mattress. Avoid extreme temperatures of too hot or too cold. And limit the amount of light, both artificial and natural.

If adopting these lifestyle changes doesn’t improve your sleep, it’s important to talk to your doctor. Conditions that affect sleep can be serious and may lead to long-term health issues over time. Your doctor can assess whether you may have a more significant sleep issue, such as diabetic neuropathy or sleep apnoea, and recommend further tests or treatment.

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